Tragic Janet & The Manic Muse

by Fielding Goodfellow

Janet Bolan always seemed to be one hallucination away from a padded room, but somewhere in the dark, melancholia that danced around her head like Fred and Ginger lived her muse. Or so she said.  At the time I had no idea what the hell she was talking about but it didn’t really matter, I mean I was pretty fucked up back then. She said that she was a poet, carving images of  human suffering out of the words and phrases she found hiding in her thoughts. She would sit cross legged on a table in the common room, dressed in cut off jeans and a sleeveless tee shirt, and seduce me with a reading, but all I was thinking about was how to get her clothes off. She had this way about her, a serene confidence that seemed to make her ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude tolerable. And while she may have been a little out there, I’m not so sure that it was such a bad place to be, I mean there was a lot of crazy shit going on right here back then.

Woodstock had come and gone and the promise of a better world seemed to have dissipated like the cloud of smoke that was left over upstate New York that weekend.  It was a very confusing time, filled with anti communist rhetoric and the banning of books and music that questioned the establishment. After putting a man on the moon and tripping across the Isle of Wight, we were forced into hiding in campus coffee houses in order to continue our journey across space and time. Janet joined the Feminists for Freedom and published her politically charged ‘I Didn’t Burn My Bra Just To Show You My Tits’, which catapulted her into pseudo celebrity status. The truth is, we were so messed up back then feeding our heads with peyote and psilocybin, that we hardly even noticed when the mania set in. She said it wasn’t her, I mean she claimed it was her muse, but whatever it was, Janet said that she could see the truth like that.

The fact was that she just couldn’t be satisfied with just the truth. She was always looking for something better than that, and I don’t think that she was ever able to find it. It didn’t really matter though, I mean the truth is always completely subjective. Her truth though was born out of the same anxiety and fear that drove her to write about life rather than experience it. She had no choice really, I mean she was not only afraid to die, but she was also too scared to live. It was tragic really, and she probably should have been in some kind of therapy or something, but when her muse went manic, Janet simply disappeared. She spent days in  hallucinogenic seclusion, giving life to her truth, usually reappearing three or four days later with some brilliantly executed, though completely misguided slice of humanity that she hoped would rival Ginsburg and Ferlinghetti,

Sometime in the early 1980s, after a particularly lengthy exodus from the here and now, Janet simply ran out of things to say. She said that her muse had simply packed up and moved out, leaving her dressed in cut off jeans and a sleeveless tee shirt, sitting cross legged on a bed on the third floor of Our Mother Of The Blessed Emptiness Center For The Recently Disillusioned. I was still thinking about how to get her clothes off when I visited her. but she was different,  I mean she was completely lost in whatever had decided to hover over her head. Without her muse, she seemed empty. There was nothing left really, I mean the truth is only the truth for so long. We keep changing and every now and again we shed what no longer keeps us balanced and grounded. The truth is like that though, I mean sometimes it mutates and just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Janet knew that and I suppose that’s why she couldn’t find anything else to write about, I mean without the truth there’s really nothing left. I didn’t see her much after that, but a few years ago Tate ran into her at a downtown Taco Bell where she claimed to be staving off another alien invasion. As crazy as it sounded though, I knew it was true.

Just Another Magic Mushroom Cloud

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

As strange as it seemed, the road less traveled had become so congested that it was nearly impossible to get where you felt you should be going. Sam Fischer had been tirelessly looking for an exit ramp as he found himself suffocating among those who would be equally lost no matter what road they traveled. It wasn’t always like that though, I mean one day everything just changed. It happened all at once really, and there was absolutely no time to prepare. One minute he was out there, wandering in and out of the doors of perception and sailing across the topographic oceans, and in the next he found himself all dark and broody in a universe he was no longer able to understand. On that night of magic mushrooms and The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, he discovered that Sam Fischer was dead, an apparent victim of psyche suicide. And in the emptiness created when Sam catapulted himself into a black hole and exploded into a gazillion pieces spread out across a million parsecs of space, Arlo Cool emerged. It was as good a name as any I suppose, considering Thelonious Monk had already been taken.

We were all comfortably high the night he crossed that point of no return, and in some higher level of consciousness that propelled him through a series of unforgettable hallucinations and gave rise to his very essence, Arlo Cool discovered that he no longer had any use for Sam Fischer. Everyone seemed quite concerned about Sam’s demise, but I was pretty sure that he was still in there, somewhere. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen that kind of thing, I mean there was a guy I knew in school who disappeared regularly. Every now and again he’d go missing for short periods of time without ever really going anywhere, leaving somebody else to take his place in the parade. One day he left and that was that. He returned years later with a head full of chlorpromazine and a souvenir tee shirt from his stay at the Merriman Sanatorium and Country Club.

Once it happened, they always believe that they were some kind of super hero, but I wasn’t so sure, I mean they were nothing like the ones I knew from Metropolis, Gotham or Capital City. Arlo Cool was certain that he was destined for heroics, but it was far more likely to simply be the effects of the hallucinogens, I mean weird shit goes on in your head when you’re fucked up on psilocybin, but I suppose its hard to know the difference when you’re frantically trying to stop the pterodactyls circling overhead from belting out another chorus of Grand Funk’s ‘We’re An American Band’.

“I don’t think it was suicide.” Tate said. “Sam wouldn’t do that.” He may have been right I suppose, but I didn’t believe for one minute that Sam Fischer was immune to the darkness that might very well cause someone who would never do that to do exactly that. I don’t suppose any of us ever really are, I mean its always far more complicated and a bit more sinister than that, but I guess anything was possible. I really didn’t have a fucking clue, I mean none of us did.

Sam had been a fan of Osmosis Jones, the founder of  Bio-Essence Transcendentalism. He said it was science, but it always sounded more like science fiction. It was a cult really, but it seemed to lack that element of fanaticism that’s required for cult status. We never realized just how unhappy he was, but bio-essence transcendentalism seemed to give him whatever he was looking for. Jones stated that he was able to separate himself from his physical being at will, and soar effortlessly across the astral plane. He believed that the soul was the essence of all life, but while attached to a physical being it is nothing more than a significantly disturbed entity with no limit to its capacity for delusion. He proposed that what we call mental illness was simply the soul’s response to the chaos inherent in a meaningless, physical existence. “Religion” he had said “is a poison responsible for the death of far more souls than it has ever saved. There is no salvation to be found in the rituals and tenets that were created by men in order to explain the unexplainable. Not one single soul has ever been saved through prayer or atonement simply because there’s no one there to listen.”  He was certain that there was no God. He believed that the extra-terrestrial travelers who had visited earth millennia  ago had simply been misunderstood by the spiritually and cognitively limited inhabitants of this planet.  He was convinced that to free ourselves, we needed to separate body and mind from the essence. Sam was certain that Jones was right, and I suppose he could have been , I mean I had no idea really, but it certainly didn’t sound any crazier than all of the other shit I’d been told over the years. And if Sam had chosen to take that plunge into the black hole, I suppose he was better off, I mean after spending time in the sanatorium with chlorpromazine coursing through his veins, he wouldn’t really be Sam anymore, anyway.

Sometime during ‘The Morning Will Come’,  the effects of the psilocybin began to intensify again, and Arlo Cool found it almost impossible to hold onto himself. He drifted in and out of time and space and none of us could really be sure if he was who he said he was, anymore. Even the pterodactyls seemed to have grown weary of his impetuousness and impertinence, I mean he really was an ass, and as the walls began to disintegrate into multiple pools of neon colors, we could see through to the other side and there was Sam, playing saxophone with Be Bop Deluxe. Arlo was close to invisible by now, and in the blink of an eye, the pterodactyls swooped down and picking him up, and carried him away through the opening in the wall, leaving Sam and the band in his place.

I had always thought that once a soul goes, its gone, but I suppose I was misinformed, I mean Sam came back. I don’t know how it happened, but I guess the soul never really leaves. We may not be aware of it, but it seems that its always nearby. It was good to have Sam back, I mean Arlo wasn’t a real super hero. He really was an just an ass. It turned out that Sam was the real hero, I mean he managed to find his way back from the darkness without getting himself all messed up at the Merriman Sanatorium and Country Club, simply by riding the ‘Kiss Of Light’. He seemed much better when he returned. He said that he had seen what our ancestors had seen, and he was able to understand it all. He said that he had the answers, but he couldn’t tell us as we just weren’t ready to hear it. All he would say was that Osmosis Jones was right. As for Arlo Cool well, he spent an exceedingly painful eternity in the grasp of the pterodactyls. He hardly ever showed up anymore but in the event that he did, we were prepared, I mean Tate had gone out and secured a couple of pterodactyls just in case.

The Night Of The Living Pez

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Tate and I had just begun day three of our proposed week long journey into psychedelic surrealism, wandering around a psilocybin paradise, carousing with alcoholic, fire breathing dragons, and the flying lizard mariachi band that performed in my living room three or four nights a week. We watched in wonder as the walls melted and dissolved into Irish Middle Earth, where drunken, angry leprechauns cascaded across the hills and dales singing  ‘Danny Boy’ in three part harmony, as they searched for their missing gold.  We drifted in and out of ‘The Completion Backwards Principle’, tackling deep philosophical dilemmas such as how do mermaids open their legs, and do vegans willingly participate in oral sex.

As the hallucinogenics kicked in big time something weirdly Rod Serling unfolded before our eyes. The Pez dispensers that had sat silently on a series of shelves in the spare room for years, began singing the soundtrack from ‘Bye Bye Birdie’. Sad, but true, the DC superheroes couldn’t carry a tune in a Three Stooges lunch box.  Those privileged, pretty boys in their colorful tights and flowing capes were thankfully saved by the Disney Princesses who seemed to be eyeing the apartment with the intent to redecorate it in that neo art deco shit that they seemed to like so much. Snow White nailed her solo in the title theme song and, after leaving her seven diminutive friends with hopes of jumping on that bulge in Superman’s tights, wandered off to see first hand if he really was the man of steel. Pez pandemonium broke out as Grumpy and Sneezy, in the name of retributive justice, attempted to set fire to the hero’s indestructible cape with the assistance of Iron Man, who was desperate for some friction on his own metal. The ensuing dispute ended only when the Chinese Food that neither Tate nor I remembered ordering arrived, “And that”, as Tate succinctly put it, “is the cause of the Dc vs Marvel rivalry.”

As we dug in to Moo Shu pork, Kung Po Chicken and Shanghai Noodles, the leprechauns were standing on the edge of the meadow, peering into the living room. “I suspect Scrooge McDuck is behind the great leprechaun gold heist.”, Tate blurted out. Several of the dwarfs concurred, professing that they had seen the miserly mallard up to his beak in gold coins. The Kung Po was not nearly spicy enough, and the Pezcapades had begun to wind down, with the entire cast preparing for the reprise of the opening theme song. Snow White returned to her place, front and centre, exuberant and energized, seemingly satisfied by what Superman had to offer her. When the music rolled in, there was a rousing cheer from the Hanna-Barbera group, as Snow White stepped up to the microphone. Once the song ended and the final note dissipated, leaving the room in silence, the Pez dispensers returned to their rightful places. “Well, that was weird.”, Tate stated.

“Not really.”, I replied. “You should be here last Wednesday night when they did ‘The Music Man. Now that was weird.”

“You mean this has happened before?”, Tate asked.

“Uh huh.”, I informed him. “Although the performance tonight was a little flat, much like the Kung Po, but it was nice to finally see Snow White smile.” As the drugs began to wear off and the dragons and lizards disappeared, as the leprechauns gathered up their gold and settled in for a good night’s sleep, Tate passed out on the couch, and I allowed my mind to wander back and consider just how a mermaid opens her legs, and whether or not vegans are willing participants in oral sex while I cleaned up the mess from the night’s edition of Pezcapades, and prepared for what I hoped would be a stellar performance of ‘West Side Story’, with the Universal classic monsters as the Jets, and the Hanna-Barbera gang as the Sharks. I had invited Tate back for this must see extravaganza, and me, well I’m rooting for the monsters because “When you’re a Jet, you’re a jet all the way.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aristotle Never Went To Amsterdam

 

Sometime in the early to mid 1970s, I set off to find myself, although I wasn’t even certain that I had been missing. Armed with pen and paper, and with the words of Kerouac, Salinger, and Thompson reverberating in my head, I headed down the psychedelic super highway of hallucinogenics. Hurtling headfirst at record breaking speeds, I found myself in Amsterdam, careening through a maze of idioms & isms, made palatable by copious amounts of sex, and drugs, and rock and roll. I was determined to ingest and inhale everything this deliciously, sordid city offered, fueled by the hallucinations brought on by my drug addled mind.

I checked into the Hotel Cok, on Jan Luykenstraat, renting a single room on the top floor with a view of the canal. There was a bar in the hotel basement which was run by Julian, a drugged out, French ex-patriot who introduced me to lager & lime. I spent a great deal of time hanging out with Julian, and we shared a fascination with drugs, and a love of music. We spent some afternoons in the bar as Julian introduced me to Moving Gelatine Plates, Magma, & Art Zoyd, while I flooded his brain with The 13th Floor Elevators, Spirit, and The Blues Magoos. We listened intently, having sampled the newly arrived hallucinogenics, and took turns chasing away the pterodactyls who had congregated just outside the door. And in The Hotel Cok, one summer morning, during a bout of existential ennui, I met Tessa.

She was insanely beautiful, with long blonde hair, green eyes, and legs that never seemed to stop, and worked as a maid in the hotel. We became inseparable after she walked in to my room to clean as I was standing there, naked, having just emerged from the shower. While I was uncertain what I was supposed to do next, Tessa was quite willing, and more than able to perform on her knees. We spent all of our time together from that moment on. She referred to it as dating, and who was I to argue with the older woman who was consistently offering herself to me. In the mornings we would head over to the Amstel Brewery tour, sampling several types of beer, and at night, we hung out at The Melkweg, a club located in the Leidseplein, the hub of Amsterdam’s night life, lingering in the hazy fog of the drugs that were readily available.

In the afternoons, as both Tessa & Julian worked, I was free to roam the city, seeking inspiration and motivation to continue my quest. One particular afternoon, I went to The  Museum where, after having dropped yellow submarines, I stood in front of a painting of penises. There were hundreds of them. Some were riding bicycles, while others were eating carnival foods. There were some in top hats, and little ones, running with balloons. I have no idea if what I saw was really there, but it was an enjoyable piece, whatever it was.

When I returned to the Hotel Cok bar, Tessa informed me that there was a free concert in Vondel Park that night, with Golden Earring set to perform. By the time we arrived at the site, thousands of people had filled the park, setting the stage for what I hoped would become the Dutch Woodstock. We found a spot on the grass, and sat back, drinking mushroom tea, and drifting in and out of places I had never been before, or after. There were Police on foot and horseback, patrolling the grounds, presumably to keep the paranoid schizophrenics, and, I hoped, the dragons at bay. The atmosphere was wonderfully psychedelic,  with people dancing to music that had not even begun to play. There was a roar from the enormous crowd when the band took the stage, and I sat in awe, as they opened with a 45 minute cover of The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”. Sometime during an intense solo, in a foolish attempt to reach the heights being sung about, Tessa & I ate peyote buttons, that Julian was able to obtain through a smarmy, South American Art Dealer who appeared to look like a goldfish. I have no recollection of how many we ate, or for that matter, any thing else that happened that night. I awoke the next morning in Vondel Park with Tessa in my arms, and my pants nowhere to be found.

On the days when Julian had to work, Tessa & I would borrow Julian’s Vespa and head out to wherever the road took us. Inevitably,we found ourselves at some point in the day, hanging out at Dam Square. the meeting place for all of those who had no idea what they wanted, and really didn’t care to find out. It was filled with hippies, musicians, and artists, all banding together to protest against war, or taxes, or some plan to stifle their freedom of creativity. They were peaceful protests, the kind of protest one would expect from a crowd who had heavily ingested hits of acid that were being passed around in small wicker baskets. There was chanting, and singing, and the occasional panic stricken scream from someone in the midst of a bad trip. Tessa and I would occasionally wander off to the Damrak and contemplate threesomes with some of the hotter girls that she would pick out, sitting in their windows, dressed in leather, or lace, or both.

Trush, a Danish tourist from Copenhagen, had recently left her husband, and was trying to start a new life. She had been sitting alone at the bar most of the morning, Julian informed me. Tessa went over to speak to her, and before long, Trush had joined our little group of misfits. Julian said that he was attracted to her mind, that she gave him a mental hard on. It didn’t matter to Tessa or I what he said, we both knew it was her enormous tits. Julian made Mushroom tea, and we all sat around for what seemed like hours, drinking tea, listening to music, and watching the giant iguanas crawl across the walls. Bad Company was playing on the bar’s stereo. We drank lager & lime, and ate  Bitterballen, a weird, deep fried meatball, which surprisingly tasted better than it looked. We ate, and talked, and drank more magic mushroom tea. As the title track of the album began playing, Trush started dancing, swaying back and forth to the music, and removing her clothes. Julian felt the need to stop her, although I suggested that we let her dance. I must have drifted off into some far away place where Trush was completely naked, brought back only by Julian insisting that Tessa and I take her to her room.  As high as we were,  we scaled the 4 flights of stairs, and managed to get Trush into her room still partially dressed, and safe. Once inside, Trush continued to remove her clothes. She was beautiful naked. Tessa and I were both staring at her incredible body. Tessa and I looked at each other. It was decided. This was the dream.  I had heard that Danish women had no inhibitions, and it turned out that Dutch girls don’t have many either. When we left her, we returned to the bar, but quite exhausted. I was certain that Julian knew exactly what we had done.

There was a boat that toured the city through its myriad of canals. Julian & I had ingested Peyote buttons, that he had secured from his South American Art Dealing goldfish. As we cruised through canal after canal, the buildings that lined the streets seemed to melt, falling backwards, and dissolving in the blue and white hues of the late afternoon sky. The sun was hot, incredibly hot, creating a haze over the city, and I felt like I was looking through a cellophane filter of assorted colors. As the boat passed The West Church, the hands of the clock which sat on on the less than impressive tower, which protruded into the air like an enormous erect penis, began to spin erratically, changing time, and changing faces. It would smile, and scowl, and then grimace. I took out my notebook and wrote ‘time is quite emotional’ in large letters. It sounded wonderfully brilliant and poetic at the time, and I was certain that I could use that line somewhere in my work.

One weekend, Trush suggested that we go to Copenhagen with her, and visit Tivoli. Julian and Tessa had to work at The Hotel Cock, so Trush and I boarded a train, and ferried to Copenhagen. Tivoli is an insanely wonderful place. If you have never been there, I suggest you go on LSD. Or peyote. The movement, the colors, and the sounds are excruciatingly mind blowing. There were clowns floating on stilts, eight miles high, with crazy smiles and red noses, laughing manically, as they leaned down to pat you on the head. I have been told that there were in fact no clowns when I was there,  but I saw clowns. They had a magical wheel, that spun around high over our heads, with lights pulsating faster with every spin, and there were screaming people who seemed to be trapped on it, begging to get off,  until finally it slowed to a stop, and they went scurrying off in all directions. The entire weekend was filled with drugs and sex, and I can say with certainty that Trush was as incredible in Denmark, as she was in The Netherlands.

We returned to The Hotel Cok. As my money began to run out , and I had no desire or intent to leave Amsterdam,  Julian arranged a job for me at the bar. He taught me how to pull beer from the taps. It was a wonderful gig. We were high all of the time. I was making enough to cover my expenses and keep me on the far side of the moon. Things with Tessa and I had changed, at least that’s what she told me. She was upset over my jaunt to Copenhagen with Trush, and felt that she just couldn’t trust me. It didn’t matter, really, we were still sleeping together, and so were Tessa and Trush.  The three of us  continued to share my single room on the top floor of the Hotel Cok. There was an endless supply of psilocybin, peyote, and acid, and I somehow became quite a fan of Van Gogh. When Tessa worked, Trush & I spent hours at the Van Gogh Museum, not far from the hotel, lost in the madness I saw in the paintings. When we returned to our room, Tessa would be waiting with mushroom tea, and peyote buttons. It is interesting, I think, that I don’t remember eating much during this time.

That night we all went out to catch a screening of Rosemary’s Baby at the Cinecenter. While waiting in line, we met 2 American soldiers. They were stationed in Germany, and were on leave. They asked for directions to the Red Light District, and inquired if we had any drugs. Julian provided both directions and a couple of hits to the men in uniform. In the theatre, Tessa had a difficult time dealing with the movie. It was freaking her out. She had been raised a Protestant, and the references to the devil were unbearably frightening.  I was sure the the grab bag of hallucinogenics we had taken, did little to calm her down. She was experiencing a bad trip, so I took her outside, and we sat on a bench outside of the theatre, where we waited for Trush and Julian. I held her tightly, while I watched the flying monkeys circle the Melkweg, which was just down the road. “Good thing we didn’t go there tonight.” I thought. She was getting cold, so I took her back to our room, put her into bed, and lay down beside her. Trush returned a short time later, and informed us that she saw those 2 American GI Joes whom we had met earlier get arrested for refusing to pay one of the prostitutes for services rendered. It seems that they objected to the fact that she made them cum too fast. In her defense, which she shared with the Police, how is that her problem? As she was hired to provide a service, and not contracted for any specific length of time, she met her obligation and they were obligated to meet theirs. Days later, Julian told us that they had involved the American Consulate, who arranged for all charges to be dropped, and the 2 men were returned to their base in Germany for disciplinary hearings. Furlough cancelled.

I began to wonder about my reason for coming to Amsterdam. I had set out on a journey of discovery, and while I did learn much about myself, I was now thinking that I may really need to find a place for recovery, It felt like it was time to move on. It had been one hell of a party, with an insanely wonderful guest list. I doubted that I would ever be as close to anyone as I was to Julian, Tessa, and Trush.

Julian stayed on at The Hotel Cok, acting as bartender, drug dealer, and companion to many tourists for many years to follow. I stayed in touch with him for several years, but then, as it inevitably happens, we lost contact with each other. Trush left Amsterdam before I did. She went fully clothed, and rumor had it that she had returned to her husband in Odesne, long enough to relieve him of some of his money, and headed out to The United States to  begin a career as an actress.  I suspect that she would have wound up in porn, as that seemed to play directly into her skill set. And Tessa, well I guess I realized that I was never really in love with her.  I cared for her, but it was just about the sex. She must have realized it too, and she moved on, finding employment at an upscale, 5 star hotel as a hostess. We wrote letters back and forth for a while, but I suppose neither one of us really gave a damn anymore.

And me, well, my own memory, which I was pretty sure I would have lost in the course of my journeys through time and space was not to be trusted, and I was forever glad that I had written it all down in the notebook I carried, recording it for posterity.  I left Amsterdam, content, tired, and totally wasted, still searching for whatever I would find.